Nightclub's liquor license suspended Neighbors had cited problems at 32nd St. bar

August 23, 1996|By Joan Jacobson | Joan Jacobson,SUN STAFF

The city liquor board voted yesterday to indefinitely suspend the license of the New 32nd Street Plaza, a North Baltimore nightclub that has long disturbed neighbors who complained of beatings, shootings and even a slaying in the area.

The three-member board voted 2-1 for the suspension, preventing the bar's owners from bringing alcoholic beverages onto the premises in the 400 block of E. 32nd St.

The board also said the two owners who hold the license, James Scroggins and Rhonda Williams, "were not fit" to hold a liquor license in Baltimore.

More than 30 community residents attended the board hearing yesterday, asking that the bar be closed. They said the bar's owners violated an April agreement to shut down its operation Sunday nights and keep the peace the rest of the week.

The bar owner and an assistant manager asked the board to postpone the hearing because they had no lawyer representing them yesterday, but the board refused.

Raymond Tubman, the assistant manager, said the bar's lawyer, Edward Smith, no longer represented them and they were unable to get their new attorney, George Russell, to attend the hearing.

But board members said the bar owners had adequate notice of the hearing and the case went ahead. Scroggins and Tubman chose not to put on witnesses or cross-examine the community's witnesses, saying the hearing was unfair. Tubman said the bar owners would appeal the decision.

Residents and police officers testified that although the nightclub did close Sunday nights, patrons leaving the bar Thursday nights became extremely noisy.

The morning of Aug. 16, city police Sgt. Jack Kincaid said, three people were arrested for disorderly conduct and a fourth was cut in the chest after nearly 300 people poured out of the bar onto the streets of the Barclay and Abell neighborhoods.

Of the 50 liquor establishments in North Baltimore, said Kincaid, "nothing compares to what we have here" at the New 32nd Street Plaza. He said police spend so much time responding to incidents outside the bar that "the club takes up more resources than a Ravens game."

Neighbor Kelly Collins said the noise, fighting and random gunfire outside her window "is truly ridiculous. We do get woken up almost every Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights."

Pub Date: 8/23/96

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